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Massa: Todt still important for Ferrari

Felipe MassaJean Todt is still playing an important role for Formula One champions Ferrari despite his departure as team boss, Brazilian driver Felipe Massa said on Thursday.

Todt, the Frenchman who presided over the Italian team's most successful period with six constructors' titles in a row between 1999 and 2004, handed over as team principal to Italian Stefano Domenicali at the end of last year.

He also resigned as Ferrari chief executive officer on Tuesday but remained as a board member and will carry out special assignments for the company's racing operations.

"He still participates in the most important decisions of the Ferrari F1 team. I feel that he is still taking a lot of responsibility for everything that is happening in the team," Massa told a news conference at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

"He is still around 100 per cent," he added.

"Maybe he is not coming to all the races, maybe he is not working from seven o'clock to nine o'clock in the evening like he was doing before but he is still around for the most important decisions."

Todt did not attend the season-opening Australian Grand Prix last weekend but is in Malaysia for Sunday's second round.

Ferrari scored just one point in Melbourne, their worst start in 16 years, with world champion Kimi Raikkonen classified eighth despite both the team's cars retiring with engine problems.

"It was a very crazy race. Not just from me or Kimi or the team," said Massa, who stopped after an early spin and then a collision with Red Bull's David Coulthard.

"Unfortunately we had a very bad race for both cars and also for the team because of reliability," he continued.

"It is not because of the new rules. It is not because of the modifications that we had from this year to last year that caused all the problems. It was just a bad race for us."

Massa said his car's engine had suffered a valve failure in Australia but he was confident the team had resolved the matter.

"Speaking to an engineer, it looks like we are very confident that we solved the problem," he said.

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